Sound the Alarm on Your Career: How to Become a Security Alarm Installer

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Dec 11, 2018

Dec 11, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Only 17 percent of American homes are equipped with a security system. Many homeowners, not to mention business owners, will want to install security alarms in the coming years. And to make it happen, they'll need to hire an alarm installer. 

That alarm installer could be you. If you want a rewarding job that involves keeping people safe, have you considered a career as a security alarm installer?

In this guide, we'll show you everything it takes to start your security alarm installer career. Keep reading to find out how to make this career path a reality.  

Who Should Become a Security Alarm Installer?

First, let's see if the job will suit your personality. 

Installing security alarms is a very hands-on job. You'll need to enjoy being out in the field and doing moderate physical labor. If you prefer sitting at a desk all day, this isn't the right job for you.

A lot of the work you do will be independent. The best alarm installers are self-starters who don't always need someone on hand to guide them. You'll need to be great at figuring out solutions to problems on your own, on the fly. Every day on the job will be a little bit different, and you'll have to face challenges as they come up.

However, you'll also need to be good at working with people. Installing security alarms often means visiting people at their homes and businesses. They might be worried about a break-in or stressed about one that happened recently. You'll need to help them stay calm by communicating effectively about how your alarm works.

You'll also need to do some of your work outside, in all kinds of different weather. If you don't like being out in the heat, cold, or rain, this might not be the right job for you.

Finally, these jobs also require a certain amount of training. You'll need technical knowledge, and you might also need some legal knowledge. Although the barriers to getting into this career are fairly low, there's still some work that needs to get done before you can start. 

What Do Security Alarm Installers Do?

The typical day for a security alarm installer will involve a number of visits to your clients who want an alarm at their home or business

Your job is to install the security systems, as well as fix or do maintenance on existing ones. First, you usually start the client relationship by talking about their wishes and plans for security. Then, you'll survey the site to find the best places for the security devices.

Next, you'll install the systems themselves. You might need to use basic electrical wiring knowledge to hook them up, but some modern systems also work with Wi-Fi. Over the course of your career, you'll get familiar with different types of alarms. Learn more here about the types of alarms you might need to work with. 

Once the system's in place, you'll test it to make sure it works. Then, you'll teach your client what they need to know about using the system. 

To perform all of these steps, you'll pull from a wide variety of knowledge. For example, you'll need to learn to read blueprints so you can see where alarms will work best in a home or business. Since you'll often work with electrical systems, it's important to know how to be safe to avoid the risk of electrocution. 

You may also install different types of systems besides burglar alarms. For example, you may learn how to install video monitoring systems or security systems that permit access with a card or a code.

Some alarm technicians also install fire alarms. This can include installing ventilation, smoke detection, and sprinkler systems. You'll need to know how to use fire-repellant materials and get familiar with local fire alarm codes.  

Alarm Technician Training

Now, let's take a look at the training and education process needed to become an alarm technician.

The local licensing requirements vary, so make sure to check your state and local laws so you can get the right license. In some areas, you'll need to become a licensed electrician to install alarms. This involves education, testing, and spending time as an apprentice.

However, in other areas, you don't need to be licensed at all to install alarm systems. But most places fall in between these two extremes.

You'll most likely have to get either a specialty license or a low-voltage electrician license. The specialty license is specific to working as an alarm installer. You'll need to take a course, perform training, and complete a final test. 

To get a low-voltage electrician license, you'll follow similar steps as fully licensed electricians. You'll need to complete training and testing, and spend time as an apprentice. But the process doesn't take as long as becoming a full electrician.

Keep in mind that employers sometimes have requirements above and beyond the law. Although your state might not require a bachelor's degree, certain employers might. It's a good idea to check with employers in your area to get a feel for what they're looking for before you start your education. 

Many employers will also look for an alarm installer certification from a national certification company. Sometimes these certifications are optional, but other times they can actually help you meet the legal requirements to work in your area.   

Is an Alarm Technician Career Right for You?

Becoming an alarm installer lets you have lots of control over your day. You'll work independently, meet challenges, and help people feel safe at home and at work. With the new influx of "smart" home alarms, the alarm installer job market is looking good.

However, the process of choosing the right job can take a long time. Wondering how to make the job search more comfortable? Don't miss our guide to the best chairs to sit in during a lengthy job search!